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REVIEW: Alex Calder - Bend

REVIEW: Alex Calder - Bend

By: Jessica Gonzalez
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A review of the Alex Calder album Bend.

 

Eccentric, lo-fi indie pop artist Alex Calder has just released Bend, a 15-track collection of B-sides and demos he had recorded at home from 2013-2015. Throughout his new digital release, Calder reframes distorted, psychedelic rock through his signature bedroom-pop sound. His voice is frank and unstyled, allowing certain abrupt, and at times surprisingly felt, lyrics to shine. His infectious guitar riffs and subtle yet driving percussion are also not to be overlooked. Calder injects each track with a special kind of moodiness that also manages to sound fun.


Songs like “Foam” and “Out of Tune” feature the usual Calder sound, and they open the album with a comforting familiarity. The fuzziness of the home recording comes out in each track, possibly making listeners nostalgic even if they’ve never heard a single song by the Montreal-based crooner before. In short, the listening experience is intimate; the music, unassuming yet effective. Songs like “Paralyzed”, “Real Life” and “Dealing With The Sun” confront a general mood of disillusionment and yearning, but the atmosphere still maintains an appealing youthfulness.


The album’s title track features an irresistible melody, but Calder’s thin voice and the modest percussion brings the song back down to earth. “Bend” sounds like Mac Demarco, but more shy. The guitar riffs are reminiscent of the latter artist, who is also his Captured Tracks labelmate and occasional fellow collaborator. However, it is not to be discounted that Calder has his own sound that is only further established with this latest release. While the atmospheres of both artists’ work tend to be similar, Calder’s voice and writing offer a certain meekness that is honest, relatable, and ultimately charming.


I encourage you to listen to the whole album, from first track to last, available only online on his Bandcamp and SoundCloud pages. But if you’re strapped for time (or just impatient), you can’t go wrong with the above-mentioned songs. Add in “Sasaki”, decidedly my personal favorite, for good measure; this song sounds like skateboarding in California or some other activity that absolutely requires you to feel young and free.

 

Alex Calder - Bend


Listen to a song by clicking on a title below:

Click to Play Alex Calder - Bend (Full Album)

 
 
 
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